A 500m swim, 31km bike ride and a 5km run isn’t what most people sign up for when they go on holiday, but when it involves swimming in the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean sea, cycling around the perimeter of a dormant volcano and running along the lush green scenery of Four Season’s golf course, it’s hard to say no to such an event.
Welcome to the annual Nevis Triathlon where monkeys roam free, the local traffic lights are wild donkey and goats that occasionally cross the road and competitors from all corners of our planet (Canada, China, Australia, UK, Germany, USA, South Africa and the Caribbean) come to participate in one of the most challenging, yet beautiful triathlons in the world.
Our morning starts at 6:30am with a pot of granola and a banana before we load our bikes into our van. I’ve been given triathlete and multiple Ironman champion, Chris McCormack’s bike (visit Winston from Active Caribbean if you fancy getting your bum on that seat) to tackle the Anaconda Hill (a 5km climb along the bike route).
The atmosphere in Charleston is as carefree and easy as the three days prior to the event. All of the locals are there to watch and support us and as we stand by the sea ready for our first leg of the race, I hear one local call out “go journalist”, which brings a smile to my face. You see, here, every one of the 12,000 residents knows who you are. “We have a saying”, Julie from the Nevis Tourism Board tells me, “you’re only a stranger in Nevis once.”
The swim is probably one of the easiest “sporting swims’ I have ever done in my life. The bike ride is another story. Thankfully, I have my husband telling me how fast and slow to go up the hill, so I don’t resort to getting off and I reach the top of it feeling like a champion. The view up there is out of this world and that’s how it continues as we wind our way down to the sea again. By the time I’m running along the Four Season’s golf course for my final leg, I’ve forgotten I’m in a race. Fellow competitors cheer me on, as I do them. The level of camaraderie is nothing I’ve experienced in races before and when my husband and I cross the finish line holding hands, we vow to come back next year to do it all again.
Where to stay
This charming, 19 bedroom plantation resort has the décor of an English country manor home with the vibe of a Caribbean resort complete with hammocks, cabanas and a beach bar, a real eccentric find on booking.com. Dinner can be taken in Restaurant 750 with views of St Kitts or the authentic 300 year old Sugar Mill on site.
After one day here, we were on a first name basis with every member of staff (Romel, Tish, Cartier, who are as welcoming as they are charismatic. Try Kaddy’s delicious rum punch.
There’s luxury and then one notch higher, there’s Four Seasons, Nevis. Located on the world famous, PInneys beach, this resort is more than instagram worthy. There are 3 pools to swim in (one of which is adult only), a relaxing spa complete with a view of Nevis peak and a waterfall hot tub, private beach cabanas dotted along the beach and an 18 hole manicured golf course.
The breakfast is epic and poolside cocktails, delicious. We snorkeled just off the beach and managed to see spotted Eagle Stingrays, more fish than I’ve ever seen in the open water and a cute little turtle who let us swim with him.
Where to eat
What do Beyonce, Michael Douglas and Britney Spears have in common? They’ve all sipped on Killer Bees at Sunshine’s bar on Pinney’s beach. It all began twenty years ago when Sunshine began serving fresh seafood to hungry beachgoers from a small BBQ grill just a short stroll from Four Seasons. Today, the green, red and yellow painted shack is constantly packed with tourists and locals who flock to his bar for his famous Killer Bee cocktail. Just watch you don’t get stung.
One word of advice, get the Mahi Mahi with Nevisian rice. On a Friday night, this place is pumping with tunes. Try one of their Green Flashes, named after the green flash of light that occasionally occurs when the sun sets on the horizon of the sea. We saw proof of this, but can’t verify whether it was due to the several Green Flashes we’d had by that time.
What to do
Hike to the peak with Reggie from Nevis Adventure Tours. He is a local legend and has previously represented Nevis in several triathlons and cycling races around the world. The hike isn’t for the faint at heart, but he’s taken people from the age of 7 – 73 up to the very top, so you’re in good, safe hands. The views are amazing and after the climb and descent, you’ll feel like you’ve earned that lobster roll.
Take a Catamaran from Four Season’s and enjoy the views of Nevis from afar. Tours go for roughly 2 hours with complimentary rum punch, beers, soft drink and water offered throughout the journey. We stopped off at an ideal spot for snorkeling and enjoyed sunbaking on the front deck.
Relax with a massage at Four Seasons. The massages themselves are soothing and the surroundings you can relax in afterwards are stunning. Take in views of Nevis peak as you plunge into their cold pool, unwind some more under the waterfalls of their hot pool, or chill on a lounger with a healthy spa Bento box.
Find more unique, sporty holiday stays at booking.com. There’s an idea on there for every level of fitness.